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What trauma does to your brain: A simplified guide

This blog is not about how to create coping strategies for dealing with depression, anxiety, addiction, anger etc. that happens after you have suffered a loss in your life.

But about making you understand what actually happens after a traumatic experience.

The brain does its job, protecting you in the best way possible. But the brain often ends up being a not-particularly-helpful asshole instead. 

It’s like your friend who offers to take the shit out of anyone who bothers you. It’s helpful but could be more useful. 

There are ways to manage things that aren’t quite traumatizing, but sure enough.

There are no kittens, rainbows and teddy bears. As with trauma, the coping strategies we develop for these situations are less effective over time and even more exhausting. 

As though they didn’t interact in a constant feedback loop or something. Most information we learn about the brain falls under the “physical well-being” category. 

Mental health covers thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and other mental functions. The mind appears to be a helium balloon hovering above our heads at all times. 

Although we may hold onto the string, it’s not part of our being.

It is accountable for everything. It makes no sense. 

There are unique microorganisms that live there and communicate with our brains through the gut-brain axis, which is a real thing. 

They are sometimes called second brains. One that plays a vital role in our emotions. Have you ever felt a gut reaction? 

You’ve probably experienced a gut reaction. These thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are deeply embedded in our bodies. They reflect how our brains see the world around them based on experience and current information. 

It’s an understatement to say that understanding your brain and all its workings is crucial. When we understand all this, we can see that our interactions with the world are expected. 

What happens when there is a bump in the landing? 

We see the consequences of brain-traffic control not managing itself correctly: *Freaking out *Avoiding the vital shit that we need *Being an ass with people we care about *Putting shit into our bodies that we don’t know is good for us *Doing stupid, pointless, or destructive things.

None of these is helpful. They all make sense. To avoid future nasty things, the brain keeps track of the information. Your brain has learned to adapt to your circumstances and begun to do things to protect you. 

Sometimes these responses can be helpful. Sometimes, the response becomes a bigger problem than the real problem. It won’t, even if your brain isn’t trying to fool you. 

Adaptive coping strategies, bad habits, or bizarre behaviours all wire similarly. Research shows that adaptive coping strategies, bad habits, and funky behaviours all wire similarly.

These allow the brain to process information again without any crazy overreaction. 

Our brain uses overreaction to adapt and protect us when it perceives a threat to our survival. Battle brain ACTIVATE – The enemy is still there, even if they are just some random person at the bookstore.

Cognitive neuroscience is a relatively new field, already providing helpful insights into how our brains work. After reading this blog post, you should better understand how trauma can affect the brain and what sorts of cognitive problems can result.

 If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Many resources are available to those who need them, and with the proper support, it is possible to overcome even the most difficult hurdles.

Fen Hsuen

Fen Hsuen is a leading voice in the western world when it comes to the masterful art of sound therapy. Originally pursuing high levels of education in neuroscience and pharmacology, she quickly became fascinated by the potential for sound as a healing modality. This interest led her to start brainvalley, one of the first companies to offer online sound therapy courses. Fen is also a psychedelic science advocate, and is well known for her content around health and wellness.

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